February is pretty epic because it’s the month of my birth, but apparently there is another holiday as well called Valentine’s Day. This year is special because it will be my and my husband’s first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. After almost 9 months of marriage, I’ve had a good amount of time, plenty more to go of course, to understand some of the peaks and valleys of love. I’m pretty sure I thought I knew enough about what it would take in order to make the plunge into marriage, and I am now fully confident I didn’t know the first thing about real love. Okay maybe I knew the first thing, but not the hundreds of others!
When I think about what my truest understanding of love is, my mind immediately goes to John 3:16, one of the most popular, familiar, and commonly quoted verses of scripture. It makes perfect sense that it would be, because it is a description of the Gospel in a very simple form. You could poll one hundred women about what love is, or one hundred men on what love looks like, and I am positive that the responses would run the gamut. But when I look at John 3:16 I see the full extent of love in the sacrifice that God made for the world. This is our model of true love and we can learn a lot from this level of self-denial. I could try to break it down but I really like the way William MacDonald dissects this verse in the “Believer’s Bible Commentary” so I’m going to let him take it from here:
3:16 God, we read, so loved the world. The world here includes all mankind. God does not love men’s sins or the wicked world system, but He loves people and is not willing that any should perish. The extent of His love is show by the fact that He gave His only begotten Son. God has no other Son like the Lord Jesus. It was an expression of His infinite love that He would be willing to give His unique Son for a race of rebel sinners. This does not mean that everyone is saved. A person must receive what Christ has done for him before God will give him eternal life. Therefore, the words were added, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish.” Boreham says: “When the church comes to understand the love with which God loved the world, she will be restless and ill at ease, until all the great empires have been captured, until every coral island has been won.”
3:17 God is not a harsh, cruel ruler anxious to pour out His anger on mankind. His heart is filled with tenderness toward man and He has gone to the utmost cost in order to save men.”